Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Do You Dare? …


To Dresden!  I do!  Enthusiastically!  I am so excited to be a part of the Dare to Dresden blog hop organized by Madame Samm over at the “Sew We Quilt” blog and Christine at the “Quilt Monster in My Closet” blog. 
Last summer, I started playing with my EZ Dresden ruler and made a bunch of Dresdens.  I appliqued them all down onto some plain blocks.  Then I decided that it was just too darn plain!  Even with fancy sashings, it was just too plain.  So I dug into my folder of applique shapes and came up with this ………
Much better, I think!  Now make 12 of these babies and design some sweet borders to finish it off ……
101_0530    from Tina' 068
101_0545   101_0536
I used two sashings with a contrasting corner post around each block.  To join the 12 blocks together, I used a wide fuchsia mini dot print with a 16 block corner post.  This quilt was time consuming, but it was truly a pleasure to design and assemble.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  Thank you for stopping here and looking in on my Dresden creation on the Dare to Dresden blog hop and hope you will come back again.  Please do click on the following links and check out what the other Dare to Dresden hoppers have to share with you!

January 30th, 2013
Charlotte H @ “that Other Blog”

Till next time …….

Enjoy,  Merry Gay

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Liebster Award

I was absolutely thunderstruck when I discovered that my dear blog friend, Janice Ferguson, had nominated me and my blog for The Liebster Award.  Janice blogs at Janice Ferguson Sews, and if you haven’t read her blog, then you need to check it out.  I love reading her blog.  It contains a wealth of information about heirloom sewing and beautiful pictures modeled by her precious grandchildren.  I feel like we have become friends, even though we have never met.  One day I do hope to meet her.
The Liebster Award is, according to what I read on Janice’s blog, “…given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers, most of whom have 200 followers or have been blogging for less than 6 months.  It is to show newer bloggers that they are appreciated and help spread the word about new blogs.  Liebster translates to “dearest” (or favorite/best) in German.  It is also known as the “Love Blog Award”.  It’s been fun to get to know some bloggers better and is a great way to pass the love on”.
Liebster awardees are given a list of questions to answer about themselves and we are to add in some personal tidbits about ourselves as well, so this may be way more about me than you ever wanted to know.  So please feel free to skip this post altogether unless you want to spend a fair amount of time reading my blog.  Here are the Liebster rules:
  • Post 11 things about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you
  • Make up 11 questions for the bloggers whom you will nominate
  • Choose 11 new blogs and link them to your blog post
Here are 11 things about me:
  1. My house sits on a large lot and at one time most of it was taken up by flower beds.  I raised daylilies and had over 200 varieties in my yard.  They were gorgeous for about a month out of the year.  The rest of the year (except for the winter months) they were just green plants that required a whole lot of work because of the horrid bermuda grass that I constantly battled.  This was a time that I spent most of my waking hours gardening pulling grass out of places that it wasn’t wanted.  Finally, after about 8 years of this, the bermuda grass won the battle when I decided that I was not going to devote myself to daylilies any more, no matter how pretty they were.  I was not sewing a whole lot during this gardening period.  However, I did knit a fair amount of socks during this time. 
  2. Years ago, my Grandmother got me addicted to the pickles that she made in her kitchen.  For a long time she made all the pickles for my entire family.  Then when she retired from Queen of Pickle Making, my mom and I picked up her crown and started making them.  We did this for years.  Then my mom died and so now it’s just me.  I make pickles every summer for my house as well as for all of my children.  See, I got my own kids addicted to pickles as well!
  3. I went to college at The University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and shall remain a card carrying Ole Miss Rebel fan until the day I die, and when that day comes, drape my casket in a Confederate flag and somebody please sing “Dixie”. 
  4. I also received a degree in Interior Design from the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.  I have never really put all that hard work to good use, but all of that art school training does come in handy when I am designing quilts!  I guess you could say that I have received a lot of pleasure from that degree because I love designing quilts and have made that my hobby/passion.
  5. I love dogs.  Right now I only have one, Sophie Belle, who is a German Shepherd mix that my husband and I rescued about a year ago.  Before that we owned were owned by 5 (yes FIVE) beagles who were hunting dogs that I made into house dogs.  See, we owned the mother, Freckles, and she had these puppies ….. Allie, Carole, Prissy, Elvis and TwoTone.  By the time they were old enough to wean, neither me nor my husband wanted to part with any of them.  We were in love with our dogs.  So, we sent them to rabbit hunting school (yes, there is such a thing) in Kentucky and they came back to us raring to hunt.  They lived in a kennel in our yard/garden at that time and it was at this time that we realized what we already knew but had somehow forgotten ……….. WE HAD A BUNCH OF TOWN RABBITS LIVING IN MY DAYLILIES!  And every time one would present itself in sight of the pen, we had 5 howling, chomping at the bit ready to hunt beagles (with those LOUD voices!) raising the ruckus.  Which did not set well with our neighbors (did I mention that this invariably happened at 3 AM?).  The police were making house calls here ALL. THE. TIME.  So I moved them all into the house and potty trained them and we all lived happily ever after.
  6. I don’t think I could live without a tall glass of sweet iced tea either in my hand or on a table beside me.  I have to have it. It’s an addiction.  Nuff said!
  7. I love to read.  I just finished reading the “Game of Thrones” series.  Now I’m ready to start something new.  But before I start a series, I’m going to read Stephen King’s “From a Buick 8”.  My son gave me that book a few years ago for Christmas and I read probably about a third of it before I put it down to read something else and never got back to it.  So now I’m going to start from the beginning and read just that till I get it finished.  Next I think I’ll try the Tudor series from Philippa Gregory.  Janice Ferguson said that it was really good on her blog and I loved ‘The Tudors’ on tv, so I’ll give it a whirl.  I am assuming that it’s about the same Tudors!  LOL.  We shall see……
  8. I love baking and at one time came really close to opening a bakery here in Sikeston.  We had a bakery at one time (still have some that profess to be bakeries, but sadly are not even though they think they are), but it closed and now there is absolutely no place left to get really good cookies and cakes.  Well, except for my kitchen! (Insert sly smile here). 
  9. If it were up to me, I would have the satellite tv disconnected at my house and rely solely on Netflix for that sort of entertainment.  I have no use for tv, except for Downton Abbey, and I can subscribe to that and get it on either my phone or tv.  I always watch Netflix on my laptop with ear buds while my DH watches tv.  I can always find something good to watch on Netflix.  That is rarely the case with tv.  OK.  Getting off my soap box.
  10. I am scared to death of flying in an airplane.  I didn’t use to be, but after an absolutely hair raising flight home from Las Vegas in 1995 (I’ll swear I can still recall every last detail of that flight) in which I made a ‘Deal with God’, I have never been on another airplane.  And never will.  This means that when I finally take that trip to Italy that I’ve been dreaming about for the past 5 or so years, I will be making that trip on an ocean liner.  So much more romantic/relaxing/chic than a trip by airplane.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself.  Just don’t mention ice bergs!  LOL
  11. I love music.  Every kind of music ….. except Country Western music and I can’t stand that.  My favorites (because there isn’t just one) are The Beatles (of course), The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Michael Jackson (the musician, not the pedophile), Carly Simon, Fleetwood Mac, Kenny Loggins ……. I could go on and on and on.  I have almost 5000 songs on my mp3 player.  It takes me a while just to choose an album to listen to! 
Here are 11 things Janice asked me:
  1. What is your favorite blog post?  Oh my.  Let me think.  I have several favorites, but if I had to choose one I would choose the one called “Snowbound” followed closely by the Bluebird pillowcases one called “Vintage Bluebirds”.  The Snowbound quilt has turned into one of my very favorite quilts.  It lives on my bed after Thanksgiving until I put the Bunny Quilt on around Easter.  And the Vintage Bluebirds were a pair of pillowcases which started my whole embroidered bluebird phase.  I am currently trying to finish up a quilt top that matches these pillowcases.  I would have had it finished except I decided to embroider the little flying bluebirds and floral ribbons around the entire quilt border which has turned into a very time consuming process.  I have also received so much feedback on these 2 quilts.  Not only in comments, but in private e-mails, so I know that these posts have been some reader favorites.
  2. Are you involved in your community?  Not so much.  And it isn’t that I don’t want to be, it’s just that I don’t have the time for that.  I have never talked about it on my blog much, but my DH is very sick and I stay at home with him pretty much all the time.  I get out once a week and go to church and that is the one thing that I do for myself consistently.  But my priority is staying home and that’s what I do.  Plus that allows me much sewing time, so I can get a lot done.  Smile
  3. What do you do (or would you do) if you have free time?  Well, I do have lots of free time.  It just needs to be spent in the house.  I watch Netflix and embroider much of the time.  My DH has a hospital bed in our living room, so it’s easy to find a nice place to sit and do this.  Our dining room adjoins the living room and I have moved my sewing studio out of the room it was in and into that room, so I have my machines and cutting boards and all the tools I need right in there.  It works for me and my life right now.  If I were to get out of the house and do something, I think the first thing I would do is join the Y and enroll in some group exercise classes and get involved with my local quilt guild.  I would try to get out and have lunch once a week with my girlfriends.  And I would do some travelling. 
  4. What is your favorite family activity?  Well, our family activities are somewhat limited right now.  We used to love to go fishing.  I would pack a picnic and we would put all the poles and the bait, the cooler and the blanket, the bug spray and anything else we would need for the day and pick out a lake to go to.  We always had a good time.  The kids caught fish and frogs and turtles, learned all about tadpoles and baby birds and other things.  It was a great experience.
  5. What is your favorite blog comment?  Well, I don’t get a great many blog comments.  Janice is my most frequent commenter and I appreciate that.  It’s always good to get some kind of feedback from your readers.  I do love and appreciate each and every blog comment that I get and I want to thank everyone who does comment on my blog.
  6. Do you collect anything?  Well, besides yarn and fabric (they don’t count, right?) I have a nice collection of paintings.  I started collecting paintings when I was in school at the Ringling School of Art and I have just never stopped.  And I also enjoy going to tag sales and auctions and finding nuggets of treasure here and there.  I’ll tell you what I used to do with my mom when she was alive. Sikeston has many old historic homes which were home to some really nice people that both my mother and I have met or known throughout the years.  Every so often somebody would die and there would be the estate tag sale or auction and we would go.  We would find something really nice and buy it and that would be the thing that we would remember “Miss ? by.  It was nice.  Everytime I see some of the things I have bought this way, I will think of that lady.  And now that my dear sweet mother has passed, (I was an only child and so I have all of her things) I have all of her things that we collected together so I can play ‘I remember the day we bought this …..’ game.  I am so grateful to have done this and have these memories.
  7. Do you have a sewing support group?  The only support group I have is online.  Well, and my family.  They are the recipients of most of the things that I sew, so they support me a lot!  They will often support me by providing me with a list of things that I can sew for them.  Sometimes with pictures attached!  I feel loved and appreciated.
  8. What is your fondest memory of the last 20 years?  My fondest memory ……. oooooo I have so many of these.  But the one that comes to mind right now is the day before my mother died.  We went shopping out of town the day before she died.  And we went to Steak and Shake for burgers and fries.  We did that many times, but this time we bought one of their big (as in giant) fountain style milk shakes, which we never did before because they have so many calories.  But this time, we decided to forget the calories and just go for it.  And we didn’t order one and split it which is probably what we should have done.  But we ordered a whole one each.  And we sat there in that booth and ate our burgers and giggled over drinking those big ole shakes and how we were going to regret it tomorrow.  She had a stroke and died that night and I’m so glad that she spent this last day playing with me and that she left me with this last memory …… a really nice one.
  9. Are you happy with your location?  If you had to move, where would you choose?  This is a good question.  I do not know really.  I’m happy here …. sure.  And if I were to leave here, I don’t know where on earth I would go.  I can tell you a lot of places that I would NOT go, but I don’t really know where I WOULD go.  I know that I would not want to move just to be moving.  I would want to have a reason for going.  That’s the thing about life, sometimes you just have to let it lead you.  If I am meant to go someplace else, I will end up there.  Without getting preachy, I will just say that that is how God works.  It’s kind of a little miracle how it all happens.
  10. What do you think is the most important component of your blog?  Well, that would have to be pictures!  My blog exists to show people what I make.  What I’m doing with my time.  How I interpreted this or that pattern.  How and what I created.  My blog is kind of a diary of the things that I make.  I don’t think I’ve ever shared a tutorial on my blog.  But I could if someone wanted me to show them something.  It’s just never come up.  But pictures would be a big part of that too.
  11. Do you have any pets?  Yes I do!  I have my big, beautiful, wonderful dog, Sophie Belle.  And I also have an elderly cat, Munchkin.  He doesn’t get a lot of press because he lives outside.  But I see him every day and he is also a big part of this family.
Make up 11 Questions for my nominees:
  1. What do enjoy doing in your spare time?
  2. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would it be?
  3. Do you have any pets?
  4. Of all the places you have been in your life, which one is your favorite and why?
  5. Would you share a favorite recipe with us?
  6. If you could go to any restaurant, which one would it be and what would you order?
  7. If you could go into your sewing room and start a new project just for yourself, what would it be?
  8. If you could add a new tool or machine to your sewing room, what would it be?
  9. Do you dream of attending a sewing retreat?  Where or which one?
  10. What new sewing technique would you like to learn?
  11. If you could change one thing, in yourself or your life, what would it be?
Choose 11 new blogs and link them to your post. This was the hardest part of the requirements for me.  I simply do not know of that many new blogs.  Most of the blogs that I follow are those who have been around the blogosphere for a longer period than I have been around!  I went through my blog list and most of the blogs I follow have hundreds of followers, so they were to big and too well known to use.  And it probably wouldn’t have done any good because they don’t follow my blog and they would have had to follow my blog to know that they had been selected.  Hmmm.  I’m kind of ‘up a creek without a paddle’ here.  So, I chose two blogs that I follow that qualify and do hope that they will answer all the questions and play along.  This has been fun!
A Serenade for Solitude
Pitter Putter Stitch
 I apologize to everyone who read this far for taking up so much of their time.  I did write a lot!  LOL.  I promise I’m not usually this long winded!
Enjoy,  Merry Gay

Monday, January 21, 2013

Miss January


This is the January block for the Aurifil 2013 BOM which has been organized by Pat Sloan for Aurifil.  Each block in this series is going to be designed by a different designer!  This one was designed by Erin Russek.  She is the lady who designed the ‘Jingle’ medallion that I had up on my blog a couple of Design Wall Wednesdays ago.  ANYWAY, this is going to be a lot of fun.  You make the block and then post a picture of the block you made over on the Flickr group that has been set up for this BOM.  There will be commenting and chatting on the Flickr group and drawings for prizes.  Prizes are always fun, don’t you think?  And at the end of the 12 months, you have a nice quilt.  I’m making mine in mostly reds and greens since I want a new Christmas quilt.  Month 1 down, 11 more to go!  Wheee

Enjoy,  Merry Gay

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Twas the Night Before Christmas…….

A couple of days ago, I changed my profile picture on Facebook.  You know (if you’re on Facebook, and who isn’t?), the big one that stretches across the top of the page?  That one.  Well, I changed it.  Now, instead of the founders of Zeta Tau Alpha, you will see the Christmas pillowcases which I made a couple of years ago.  These ……..
This prompted a discussion among my friends as to how they were made and what pattern was used, etc.  And I told my friends that I would put all of the information into a blog post.  So here it is!
As I said before, I made these a couple of years ago and they were so much fun to make!  I really have intended to make more, but I’ve been too busy making other things.  I know……… excuses, excuses!  In any case, here are the particulars so that you can make some of these too.  They are designed by Meg Hawkey of Crabapple Hill and you can find them here.  And let me tell you, they are a breeze to make!  You can transfer and do all the embroidery in just a couple of evenings.  All of the embroidery is back stitch, so it’s easy peasy.  Just grab your tall glass of iced tea, sit down and plug in your Downton Abbey cds and you are set!
Meg includes all the instructions for assembling the pillowcases.  I will say that I glanced at them before I did my own thing when putting them together.  I used the picture on the cover of the pattern more than anything else.   But sheesh, they are PILLOWCASES for Pete’s sake.  It isn’t rocket science.  Oh, let me show you a picture of inside the cuffs …..
that is a really bad picture.  Sorry.  But you can see that I used a contrasting fabric for inside the cuffs.  I used rick rack along that edge to make it nice and crisp and cute.  The thing about it is that you can be just as creative as you want to be when you make these.  You can change up the way the rick rack goes, add some piecing along the top of the design …… or the bottom.  These are really fun to make.
Oh, and I need to tell you that she makes a whole bunch of different ones.  The Bluebird pillowcases that I used to feature in my profile ….. the pattern came from here.  And I have some Peter Cottontail ones on my work table right now.  Here, I’ll give you a sneak peak …..
I haven’t started assembling these yet.  As you can see, they will not be a matched pair!  But that’s another blog post. 
Enjoy,  Merry Gay

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Design Wall Wednesday

I have a relatively empty design wall.  At least it is empty today.  I have worked on the borders for the 'Bluebird Quilt' for the past 3 days.  And I have shot some pictures of that ongoing work.  Jingle is also off the wall and on my work table.  Hopefully I will have some progress pictures by the weekend.  Until then.....

Enjoy, Merry Gay

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Design Wall Wednesday


I am starting the new year out in a flurry of activity!  I have 4 projects on my design wall today!  The big applique piece is the center medallion for ‘Jingle’, Erin Russek’s BOM for 2013.  It is glued on, but has yet to be stitched, so it’s not as far along as it looks.  There is a lot of stitching yet to do in that piece!  Like I said before,  this is the center medallion for this quilt.  There will be other smaller blocks surrounding it, but it will be a mystery exactly what they are until they are unveiled, one each month for the entire year.  She has told us that it has a Christmas theme, hence the name ‘Jingle’.  And the center medallion is called Miss Kringle. 


Here is a closer look.  I’m hoping to have this done by next week.  I have other projects to work on, you know!  Some of them are on the wall with Miss Kringle.  To the left you see 3 blocks from The Barrister’s Block, a sampler quilt that was a year long project from last year.  I wanted to make that quilt, but really didn’t know how I wanted to do it.  Now I know.

For years I have saved my husband’s worn out shirts.  The cuffs and the collars grew worn a long time before the rest of the shirt did, and I knew that the fabric was still good.  So instead of throwing the shirt into the trash, I threw it into a lawn and leaf bag that I kept in my cedar closet just for this purpose.  Now that he is so sick, I have sorted out the shirts and cut them from the seams so that they are just hunks of fabric.  I pressed them and folded them and stacked them into 2 giant piles.  And I am going to make a Barrister’s Block quilt out of them.  Maybe (hopefully) two of them.  I want one for both of my step children.  I think they will like that.

I also have the embroidered panels of the second French Cottage Garden still hanging on the wall.  You will recall that I am making 2 of these quilts to use as bed spreads in a guest bedroom.  The other one is sitting by my sewing maching having pinwheel blocks sewn on. 

The fourth thing on my design wall…….. look over on the far right of the picture.  You will see a long sheet of freezer paper.  That is a template for making this -


I have spent a long time studying this photo.  There is also a tutorial somewhere on the web that I read over and over for making this quilt.  But I have decided that this quilt would be easier to make if it were paper pieced instead of all the endless strip piecing that the tutorial used.  So I devised a template for paper piecing this.  I haven’t started yet.  But you can rest assured that I will let you know how it all turns out!  In the mean time, I’m going to be sewing my fingers to the bone ……

Enjoy,  Merry Gay

Sunday, January 6, 2013

For The Birds

I just love the beginning of a new year!  Brand new, crisp, a fresh start.  I always like to start making a list of sorts in December of some things I’d like to accomplish for the next year.  Not exactly resolutions, but more like a list of loose goals.  Of course, my list includes UFOs from the past.  There are some UFOs on my list for this year that have been languishing in my stash closet for 2 years!  Those have got to be finished and either put away for future use, put to use immediately, or sent off to friends and family who have been good little girls and boys and need a little reward.  LOL.  Not really.  But it does pay to be one of my offspring!  If you like receiving quilts, that is.  But I digress.

Another good thing about starting a brand new year are the Block of the Month projects offered by some pattern designers.  I always look forward to these.  I’ve sewn some really nice quilts using these patterns.


Snowbound (shown above) comes to mind as one of my favorites, but also Henrietta Whiskers was a free BOM.  The Barrister’s Block was my favorite one from last year and I am still working on that one.  There are a bunch of others and I won’t bore you with the list.  Let’s just say it keeps me busy.

This year has some special offerings.  Strictly For The Birds is a free BOM offered by Denise Russart.  Lookie…


Aren’t these birds the sweetest thing?  This is the bluejay block.  There are others!  You should see!  I’m not seeing a quilt out of these blocks though.  I’m seeing some throw pillows for my front porch! 

I HEARD that Crabapple Hill is doing a BOM this year and that is one of my very favorite pattern designers!  YOU KNOW I’m watching that website!  LOL.  And then Erin Russek always has a spectacular applique BOM quilt on offer.  Oh and check out Jinny Beyer’s newsletter!  OH MY!  And there are others!

I have some other items on my list of things to accomplish sewing wise in 2013, but that is for another post.  Until then …..

Enjoy,  Merry Gay

Friday, January 4, 2013

Dare to Dresden? Anyone?

Lookie what we have to look forward to in the last week in January!   Madame Samm has planned a brand new blog hop to usher in the new year! 

              Dare to Dresden

I am so excited because I have a new quilt to share with you … my Dresden Flower Garden quilt.  I’m also excited because I’ve never been in a blog hop before, so this will be a new and exciting experience for me. 

If you have any Dresdens hanging around in your sewing room, you can join in the fun by signing up with Christine from Quilt Monster Closet.   This is going to be so much fun.

Enjoy,  Merry Gay

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Sophie Belle and I are spending a quiet evening curled up in front of the tv, eating cheetos and drinking sodas. :)  We are looking forward to a brand new year of stitching!   See you next year!

Merry Gay